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Astronomers Discover New Galaxy Born 12 Billion Light Years Ago

Astronomers Discover New Galaxy Born 12 Billion Light Years Ago

Saturday, 15 August, 2020 - 06:30
The star formation triggered by the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy in its current approximation to the Milky Way is seen in an illustration. Reuters

Astronomers have discovered a very young galaxy that looks surprisingly like our Milky Way, appearing as a ring of light at a distance of 12 billion light years in the dark universe. The galaxy, named SPT0418-47, is so far away its light has taken more than 12 billion years to reach us.

Astronomers see it as it was when the Universe was just 1.4 billion years old, 10 percent of its current age, according to data by European Southern Observatory (ESO), a partner in this discovery. At the time, these baby galaxies were just beginning to develop, AFP reported.

The galaxy, which was discovered using the ALMA Telescope in northern Chile, looks surprisingly like our Milky Way and has a similar rotating disc and large group of stars packed tightly around the galactic center. This discovery surprised astronomers who never thought such a galaxy could be formed 12 billion light years ago. "This is the first time a bulge has been seen this early in the history of the Universe, making SPT0418-47 the most distant Milky Way look-alike," ESO said.

This unexpected discovery suggests no disturbances or instabilities in the young galaxy which seems very calm. This made astronomers believe that "this Universe may not be as chaotic as once believed and raises many questions on how a young galaxy could have formed so soon after the Big Bang."

Co-author Simona Vegetti, from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, said: "What we found was quite puzzling; despite forming stars at a high rate, and therefore being the site of highly energetic processes, SPT0418-47 is the most well-ordered galaxy disc ever observed in the early Universe."

The findings were published in the journal Nature.

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